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Healthy-ish Carrot Cake

Affiliate Disclosure | in Recipes | by | with 27 Comments

Hypocrite or Liar? That was my dilemma today. A couple of weeks ago I promised to post Gigi’s beloved carrot cake recipe, then my husband (and now our whole family) swore off grains. Seems kind of ironic to share now, but a promise is a promise and there is a sweet little girl turning two that needs this cake. Why, THIS CAKE? Because it tastes like hot baked love: fresh shredded carrots, notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, and it’s made with spelt instead of wheat (which is not GAPS friendly).  If you’re starting GAPS with us, please forgive me for tempting you so.

Spiced Carrot Cake


  • 1½-1¾ cups brown rice freshly milled in a grain mill or coffee grinder
  • 2 ¼ cups sprouted spelt flour (where to buy sprouted flour)
  • 2 cups sucanat
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce, preferably homemade (just puree seeded apples in a food processor)
  • 4 tsp aluminum-free baking soda
  • 3 tsp cinammon
  • 1¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp unrefined sea salt salt (where to buy sea salt)
  • 3 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup coconut oil, slightly warmed so that it doesn’t clump (where to buy coconut oil
    1½ cups chopped walnuts (where to buy nuts)
  • 1½ cups shredded carrots
  • 1 ½ cups raisins

Cake Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F
  2. Lightly oil two 10 inch cake pans or one 13×9 baking pan
  3. Place rice flour, spelt flour, sucanat, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, cardamom and ginger in a large bowl and mix.
  4. Add water, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, coconut oil and applesauce. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold in walnuts, carrots and raisins and mix well
  6. Pour batter into baking dishe(s)
  7. Place in oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. If you’re unsure whether it’s done or not, prick the center with toothpick. If it comes out clean it’s done!

Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened – I’d love to say we made our own, but we didn’t
  • ¼ cup butter, preferably grassfed
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons raw milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups sucanat, ground in a coffee grinder until the texture of powdered sugar


  1. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer set on low to blend cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla
  2. Gradually fold in sucanat and continue to blend until smooth

*It only takes a few seconds to create the pretty curly carrots using a saladacco!

**I was too busy visiting at the party to take a pic, so here’s one we enjoyed at a local restaurant that is almost identical


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27 Responses to Healthy-ish Carrot Cake

  1. Jessica Bennett Espinoza via FB says:

    YUM! That looks awesome …. sometimes you have to splurge. I try to make all of my treats at home, that way I can control the ingredients. :)

  2. Jennifer Hamilton via FB says:

    My favorite ways to consume vegetables: Pumpkin Pie, Carrot Cake, and Zucchini Bread! 😉

  3. Emily Brown says:

    YUM! I usually use coconut flour for my carrot cake, but I think THIS will be the one I bake for Easter this year! Thanks!

    P.S. I’d simply call you a girl who holds to her promises! :)

    • Heather says:

      Hi Emily! Thanks for the idea! I’d love to experiment with this recipe using coconut flour and honey. Katie talks about her birthday cake all year long and I don’t want her to miss out if we’re still on GAPS next December.

  4. Daniel says:

    Yeah… probably not a good idea for me to read this post today.

  5. Mae says:

    I was planning on doing this for Lily’s second Bday too :]
    And if you just NEED to make this for some reason, I know two soon to be postpartum ladies that wouldn’t mind receiving them ;]
    Thanks for sharing, Heather!

    • Heather says:

      LOL! Lily is the sweet girl I was talking about :) About that postpartum meal, oh dear, I’m not sure I could withstand the temptation!

  6. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    @Jessica Me, too! Simple substitutions can make all the difference. :)

  7. Mommypotamus via FB says:

    @Jennifer LOL! I make a pumpkin soup that tastes just like pie filling. Totally addictive.

  8. Mellanie Gray Sheppard via FB says:

    There is nothing hypocritical about a good carrot cake. Yum! :-)

  9. The Table of Promise says:

    This looks like a great recipe–thanks for sharing. We still eat grains.

    But I wanted you to clarify why you said that spelt was healthier than wheat? I am no fan of wheat, but I have always read that spelt was just an ancient version of wheat that hasn’t been overly bred (in the sense of modern agriculture). But it is still wheat per se. Why would it be healthier? I was actually under the impression that it was LOWER in protein because it is a softer wheat. I could be wrong about that. I’d love to know your thoughts.

    • Heather says:

      Great question! My main issue with wheat is that the gluten is not water soluble and does not break down easily. In contrast, gluten from spelt is water soluble. Since most people have some degree of sensitivity to gluten it makes sense to me that the most digestible form would be more ideal. Plus, it’s nutritional profile is more varied (since its gene pool is wider than wheat that has been intentionally bred for certain traits) I’m sure a case could be made for wheat, these are just the factors that I consider most important. If you’re interested you can read more at

  10. Alina says:

    Looks delicious! Just wondering… since you are doing Gaps, what will you do in situations like birthdays or if friends and family invite you over to eat and they are not eating Gaps or going out to eat? I too love eating healthy and do not like the word “diet”, but some situations can cause stress and anxiety if you are trying to follow a program, but also want to enjoy your life throughout the process. How will you handle situations like that? I’d love to know your thoughts, any suggestions?

    • Heather says:

      Alina – This is something we’ve struggled to find balance with for a long time. Now that we’re doing GAPS it will be both more and less challenging. More challenging because I can’t “relax” on some things like I normally would, easier because I think for the most part people will be pretty understanding when we explain our situation. Since most of our social interactions are between meals it’s rarely an issue, but if needed I offer to bring a couple of sides that I know my family can eat, and we eat whatever we’re able to of what’s offered.

  11. Whittney says:

    Thanks for posting! It was yummy and Barry loves carrot cake. I’m glad you posted, after all, not all of your readers will be doing GAPS!

  12. Michelle says:

    This cake looks amazing! Carrot cake is so much better when fresh carrots are used and this is definitely the healthiest recipe for it that I’ve come by. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Em says:

    Hi there! Just wanted to say that there is an uh-maz-ing recipe for grain-free carrot cake using almond flour in The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. Seriously heavenly. Thought it might make a good replacement- or at least be closer to your GAPS diet :)

  14. James Anderson says:

    Really nice recipe for me to try and I can even work this in with our diet plan as my Wife is on a slimming world diet and we can get away with eating this. Yipeeee The only problem now is I want to eat the monitor caused by looking at the pic of the cake for the last 5 minutes.

  15. 5 Birthday Traditions Your Kids Will Love {Even If They Won’t Admit It} « The Mommypotamus says:

    […] course, there’s always food, too. Usually we whip up a traditional carrot cake with my mom’s recipe, but now that we’re a GAPS family I’ll be baking these grain-free carrot cake […]

  16. The Best Grain-Free Birthday Cakes - Holistic Squid says:

    […] A great reminder than homemade birthday treats don’t have to be perfect to be perfect! This Carrot Cake from Mommypotamus is festive comfort food, a grain-free spin on her mom’s old-school recipe. […]

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